Trojans on Your Android? Here's How to Keep Your Device Safe in 2020

If you’re an Android device owner, you’ve possibly heard some myths about security. Like most Android users, you probably download your apps from the Google Play Store and hopefully notice a tick symbol indicating that the app has been scanned by Google Play Protect, Google’s built-in malware detection engine.

Google has devoted plenty of resources to detecting trojans and other forms of malware. But Play Protect alone isn’t enough to prevent trojans from compromising your device.

Hackers can’t deliver typical malicious apps, as these would never be approved for the Play Store. Instead, different types of malware are being delivered as trojans within intentional downloads. Without proper protection, these harmful programs can still get through.

Play Protect Just Isn’t Enough

Consider the case of Android.Spy.277.origin, a piece of spyware that was packaged as a trojan. It was distributed over fake versions of popular antivirus applications and apps that had passed Google Play Protect.

In fact, this wasn’t just one trojan that slipped through. Over 100 official Google Play apps had delivered malicious payloads to users’ devices by the time it was discovered. Some of the apps had been downloaded more than five million times each.

Cybersecurity researchers at Malwarebytes (the developers of one of the best Android antiviruses) recently found a trojan embedding itself in a QR code app, a photo editor, and an internet connection speed tester.

Don’t get me wrong — Play Protect is an important project that includes some very worthwhile features, such as behavior-based detection and the ability to remotely lock-down users’ devices. However, like the Android.Spy.277 fiasco demonstrated, it shouldn’t be an Android device’s sole form of protection.

Signs Your Device Might Be Infected

If you’re not already running an Android tool with trojan fighting capabilities, watch out for the following tell-tale signs that your device may be infected:

  • Running a lot slower than normal
  • Battery draining faster than usual
  • Apps on your device that you didn’t download
  • Data usage has increased but browsing habits haven’t change

If you notice any of these signs, there’s a good chance that a trojan may have taken over.

And Here’s What Is

Whether you’re just looking for comprehensive trojan protection or suspect you already have an infection, the following tools will keep your system running as good as new.

Norton Mobile Security

Norton Mobile Security will give you peace of mind that your system is clean. It offers multi-device protection, lost or stolen device recovery, and more.

See Norton Deals >>>


Malwarebytes actively documents Android trojans that have infected the Google Play Store. Malware Mobile Security offers advanced protection against malware, ransomware, spyware, and more.

See Malwarebytes Deals >>>


AVG can weed out trojans with one of the most powerful malware detection engines on the market. Its Android app is particularly well designed.

See AVG Deals >>>

Don’t Wait Any Longer

I strongly recommend a third-party cybersecurity app with a proven trojan-fighting ability for all Android users. Google Play Protect has let multiple trojans slip through, so download one of the above to be safe.

About the Author

Sophie Anderson
Sophie Anderson
Cybersecurity researcher and tech journalist

About the Author

Sophie Anderson has spent the last 10 years working as a software engineer for some of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley. She now works as a cybersecurity consultant and tech journalist, helping everyday netizens understand how to stay safe and protected in an online world.
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